Well, here we are again! Another year has gone by, and it's time to look forward to 2012. I went back to the "Reflections" post that I wrote a year ago, in which I tried to articulate some goals for this year, to see if I had actually met any of them :-)
Although I don't have a 1000 followers (yet) and haven't been actively participating in 5 social media forums, I have been doing a lot! I've been designing a lot of new patterns, some of which are now up on my Ravelry page and some of which were featured in Inside Crochet magazine. I also launched my "101 Crochet Tips" Kindle book and adopted a sheep.
So, lessons learned? Put out valuable content and the followers will come. It's really a simple concept but a really hard one to execute. How do you know if you've produced valuable content?! There are analytical tools out there now that help you determine what impact, if any, your content is having, and one of my goals this coming year is to make better use of those tools. But, it is still really important to stay true to yourself as a creator -- don't make anything you don't want to make: your heart won't be in it, and it won't result in something that you will want to share with the world. With limited resources, you need to find your niche and fulfill it to the best of your ability.
Another lesson learned is that, even if you have great content, you have to present it in a compelling and professional way to attract followers (and hopefully buyers). I received a scathing review of my old website -- it was really tough to hear, but I really recommend finding an objective observer who will truly give it to you straight. You don't have to actually follow all the advice you receive (though you probably should try to absorb it, think it through, and adopt a new way of looking at your work, and you have to try to remind yourself that the person is trying to help you), but you sometimes really need help in objectively seeing what you are doing. I haven't yet been able to implement all of the suggestions for the website that I have received, but it's one of my primary goals for 2012 to create a really user-friendly and compelling website, a real basic for any (small) business these days. It was interesting how "trust", a topic we've discussed in the past, kept coming up -- a website that engenders trust, that professionally presents content, and that potential buyers feel comfortable visiting and purchasing from.
In December's newsletter, which really wasn't a newsletter as much as it was a "thank you" to all of you who have found and stuck with me this past year, I really tried to think about and outline the new content I want to create and how I will deliver it in the new year. This goes back to the two words that I plan on making my mantra for 2012 -- content and focus.
So, what do you want to accomplish this upcoming year? What are your two words that will be the driving force behind your actions in 2012? Please share them here or on my Facebook page as a way to help you visualize them and to give me the opportunity to encourage you to embrace them!
Happy New Year!!